I need help deciding on video card

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I have been using an (?8x) AGP GeForce Fx 5700LE video card on my linux
system (AMD athlon 64), am about to build a new system using AMD Athlon 64
X2 dual core cpu). Expensive. At first I was going to go with the GeForce
7800 pci express, but I am wondering if that is really worth the $$$ and
is overkill? Would the much cheaper GeForce 6500 suffice? Both are
PCI-express which is much faster compared to what I am used to, both are
256MB, and I plan to have 4GB system RAM on the motherboard.

My main purpose for better system and graphics capability is to do Adobe
Photoshop type graphics art (using The Gimp actually instead of Adobe),
doing collages of up to 10 layers 20x30 inches 300dpi. Not a whole lot of
3D graphics except that is nice for gaming, and for some 3D art rendering
e.g. using Blender (software app).

$62 USD nVidia PCI-express 256MB GeForce 6500:

$300 USD nVidia PCI-express 256MB GeForce 7800

Re: I need help deciding on video card

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Whoa.  Unless you are going to be doing hardcore gaming, the 7800 is indeed
overkill.  But then, you don't even mention running Windows, so I'm guessing
you're not much of a gamer.  But then the 6500 is a rather low-end card, so
it's interesting that you'd be considering that AND the 7800.  Why not
compromise?  A 6600 or 6800XT (either one) will be about twice as expensive
as the 6500, but offer better performance.  Both the 6600 and 6800XT are
decent gaming cards (though not bleeding edge) with outstanding video
quality.  Both should work fine with linux and the Gimp.  Your main
bottleneck for what you plan to do will be raw processor power, but you've
got that covered with the Athon 64 X2 CPU, and you wisely chose linux to
speed it up even further.  There's no need to spend $300 on a video card,
unless you really want to.  :)  -Dave

Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 13:58:30 -0500, Mike T. inscribed to the world:
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The 7800 does seem like overkill unless one is doing intense 3D rendering.
I do like some games (play them too much during the long winters here in
Minnesota) -- Diablo, Diablo II, Unreal Tournament, perhaps Dungeon Siege
II, also Baldur's Gate II, various RPG D&D games for the most part, but I
can play all these and more just fine in Linux without any need for
Microsoft Windows; yeah, I love Linux, been using it for many years.

I'll go take another look at the cards, maybe get something in between the
two, will look at the 6800XT. I should also mention I am going with the
ASUS A8N SLI Premium motherboard, so I could eventually go with two pci
express cards working together in the system, helping to multitask video

Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 14:07:47 -0600, Beowulf inscribed to the world:
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I gotta add World or Warcraft to the list-- awesome game, too much so as I
got not work done playing it too much, had to get it off my computer!
(also plays great in Linux, perhaps better than in Windows per some

Re: I need help deciding on video card

So you are hacking Adobe Photoshop under Linux ?
??? ... !! ... ??? .... You enjoy constantly having to
rebuild your OS ?  ... "MOUNT" your floppy drive ?
And, you don't have a good feeling for the difference
between a 6500 and a 7800 ???  You have GOT to
be a grad student ... or worse .. a professor.  It is
true that most academic software will run on an
Etch-a-Sketch, but if you also want to try something
else, you are creating weak links in your choice of
OS and hardware that will give you an expensive
but non-functional toy.  I recommend the Dell
9100 with nVidia 6800, and 19 inch Super Sharp
LCD monitor .. 2 gigs ram ... 160 gig SATA, and,
and WinXP Sp2.  Get the extended tech support,
and you will be ... and stay .. productive for a solid
3 years.


Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 11:34:39 -0800, johns inscribed to the world:

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Actually no. I use "The GIMP" (gimp.org) instead of Adobe. But I figure
most people here are more familiar with Adobe; the main thing is I will be
doing image editing of 20x30 inch images, 5-10 layers, 300dpi, hence the
need for system and video RAM and speed.

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I never have had to rebuild the OS (free by the way), it installs and
upgrades quite easily actually (I use Mandriva Linux). Very user friendly.
In fact, I can upgrade all my software packages (free by the way) with one
command, or install any of 10,000 free software applications from
repositories all around the globe with one command (using 'urpmi'
command). Pretty cool IMHO. More info on linux for anybody reading this:

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I never use the floppy drive; other drives automount, including flash and
usb drives, so mounting essentially is automatic.

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I am learning. Hoping to seek some wisdom from others here on graphics
card issues.

Re: I need help deciding on video card

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Well, I also have a Linux install (Mandriva 2006), but let's not kid
ourselves it's "Very user friendly." You'll find out otherwise when you try
to get Xorg working in 3D and dual head. I got there in the end, but it was
a struggle. What about Kat? And it took me days to set it up so that I could
sync my Pocket PC and it's still a bit flakey. And I paid for it and the
only benefit I got was a trial subscription to the Mandrake Club which is an
absolute waste of time. You soon learn that Linux is a self help OS - forget
Mandriva for support - they are less than useless.
Bizzarley, they released an upgrade which fixed the Xorg bug, but only
released it to a limited subset of users!

Like I said, it's all very interesting - but it's definitely NOT ready for
the masses. In fact, Mandrake\driva have gone backwards. Perhaps some of the
other distros are better.

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Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 20:31:57 +0000, Schrodinger's cat inscribed to the
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That will be an odd bird if I go that route, but for just one graphics
card to start with it should be relatively painless; nvidia has great
support for Linux-- I have manually downloaded and installed their driver
for linux that works with all their cards several times; of course that
can be painless if one pays for the packaged commecial version of Mandriva
Linux that comes with the nvidia native drivers.

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I don't use Kat, sounds like it did give you hassels.

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I agree, from what I have heard. Never used Mandrake Club, likely never

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I agree, and disagree. I have found linux help on newsgroups like this
quite poor, *except* for alt.os.linux.mandrake and alt.os.linux.mandriva
It is those two newsgroups that I find *incredible* for tech support,
free, 24x7, an extremely helpful community that helps each other solve
each others' problems. Far better than any tech support I might get
through Microsoft-- which would be difficult to obtain and cost a fortune
per minute to talk to their techies. My cousin used to work as a tech
support leader at Microsoft, and he loves Linux-- but MS-Windows keeps him
in business as a private company now fixing Windows problems on clients'
computers (many which he has helped migrate to Linux).  Well, I do not
mean to try to convert everyone to Linux-- everybody uses what they need
and can handle at any given time; my first few weeks, or even months of
using Linux were frustrating, but once past the learning curve (even
WIndows has that, it is just that most of us are brought up on Windows),
Linux is exceptional IMHO, especially the privacy and security features--
I really do not trust closed source operating systems and software (call
me paranoid if you want to, but witness Sony's recent rootkit fiasco,
RealPlayer's hurl.exe, etc)

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Agreed, I have heard horror stories of people buying Mandriva linux from
them, etc. But what can you expect from the French (smile) :)

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I definitely agree it is not yet ready for the masses, but it is ready for
those who are somewhat saavy with computers, not everybody, but many. I
might even say it is ready for kids-- MIT is launching a program to
produce a million laptop wifi linux computers (no Windows on them at all),
just for kids, starting out in 3rd world countries. User-friendly is a
relative term-- depending on how much you tinker with the OS, or how
imcompatible of hardware one has chosen to try and make the OS fit around
it rather than the reverse, Linux, like Windows, can be a friendly or
unfriendly experience. Honestly, I have had *more* problems with
MS-Windows XP this past year than with my Mandriva linux system, really.

Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 15:19:23 -0600, Beowulf inscribed to the world:
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I want to clarify that I did not mean this specific newsgroup on building
PCs, but rather I mean't *linux* newsgroups in general (for the various

Re: I need help deciding on video card

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I can't really disagree with you to any great degree ;>)

I held off mentioning they were French, but it had to be said!


Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 15:19:23 -0600, Beowulf inscribed to the world:
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I forgot to add that the number is 1 to 10 million laptops _per_year_,
goal is to get 100 million linux wifi laptops in the hands of kids in 3rd
world countries, at a cost of only $100 per laptop (to be born out by the
governments of such countries, the laptops are free to the kids); that is
an incredible humanitarian and educational project, quite philanthropic
IMHO. "One Laptop Per Child" is the project, and exclusively having the
Linux OS on those laptops:
    http://laptop.media.mit.edu /
Quite cool looking, for kids, I might add. Looks like they even have a
crank handle to generate power for those kids out on the playgrounds where
there are few electrical outlets. :)


Re: I need help deciding on video card

On Fri, 24 Mar 2006 12:44:45 -0600, Beowulf

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Well the former card is pretty low end the and latter pretty
high end.  "nice for gaming" doesn't really tell us how much
$$$ you want to spend on gaming.  Is the 6500 even
significantly better than the 5700LE?  I woudl wonder, often
support of newer feature sets isn't so useful if the base
card performance isnt' there to provide acceptible
framerates WHILE implementing those feature-sets.  This
would be in a gaming context.

So, you'll have to put a dollar value on gaming, then pick
amongst cards in that price range.  I'd at least get a bit
better than a 6500 but it or other midrange cards will be
find for the other described uses, no need to get near a
7800 for those.

Re: I need help deciding on video card

Beowulf wrote:

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   Be advised, that *no* M$ OS allows the use of 4Gbytes; the absolute
theoretical maximum RAM for program use is 2Gbytes, and the gooie will
eat a goodly chunk.
   That said, if one has 3Gbytes, most of the gooie and the umpteen
processes that run will be in the "upper' third giggle and most of the
lowest 2Gbyte will be available for one program.
   However, i have never seen any "retail" program that gets anywhere
close to using even one giggle.
   Naturally, if you are doing heavy duty math (multi-million digits),
then that is another story; that is why i know about (real-life) RAM useage.
   M$ in their various "pronouncements" has said "no more than
512Mbytes", "no more than 1Gbyte" and "all  of our gooies support 4Gbytes".
   All of the statements are incorrect.

   Win98 does have a problem running with 2Gbytes, but that is a video
driver problem; one is stuck with the 16 color 640 by 480 mode; its
limit is 2Gbytes if one is willing to live with the video limitation.
   Otherwise, one has to live with a 1Gbyte limit if one insists on
better video.

   Win2K nominal limit is 2Gbytes, but like i said, 3Gbytes is useful in
that most of the gooie lives above the first 2Gbytes, leaving most of
that 2Gbytes useable by any program that one wishes to run.
   That program cannot use more than 2Gbytes.

   I expect that WinXP to be in the same league.
   M$ itself does have a software "package" to let one access "the full
4Gbytes", but it is worse than a joke.
   Do you remember the blazing speed of the first 4.7Mhz 8086 PX/XT?
   Well, that is not too far from what you will get with that bloated
package, from what i hear as well as reading between the M$ lines.
   I understand it is rather piggie, and so may eat 500Mbytes all by
itself; adding system junk, then one may be lucky to actually use
3Gbytes of physical RAM.
   And, they offer *zero* support for that POS.

Re: I need help deciding on video card

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On Sat, 25 Mar 2006 07:43:15 +0000, Robert Baer inscribed to the world:
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A great reason not to use MS-Windows. I rarely use MS-Windows (see my
original post), rather I use Mandriva Linux as my OS; Linux is quite good
at utilizing memory even far above 4GB. The image editor I will be using,
GIMP (gimp.org) can handle and utilize many GB of RAM if set in its

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